FlightAware A Global Force
In 2005, a group of flying buddies in Houston created a website that used data from FAA flight plans to allow real-time tracking of aircraft in flight. Twelve years later, FlightAware is the busiest aviation website and will soon have much better flight tracking capabilities than the air traffic control system. “It’s really been a lot of fun,” said CEO Daniel Baker at a news conference at NBAA in Las Vegas. Baker has guided the development of the company from a rudimentary tool to predict aircraft arrival times to a global platform offering minute-by-minute tracking of every ADS-B-equipped aircraft in the air anywhere in the world. The company announced new features at NBAA, including playback of completed flights and a new ability to track aircraft on the ground.
FlightAware has a deal with Aireon, a Nav Canada-funded company, that will offer satellite-based air traffic control data services. Baker said Nav Canada will look after providing services to air navigation service providers all over the world and FlightAware will look after the myriad services available to airlines, business aircraft and commercial operators. The system will be carried on a new Iridium constellation of 66 satellites that will cover every square inch of the earth’s surface by 2018. SpaceX successfully launched another 10 of those satellites on Monday bringing the total in orbit to 30. While satellite tracking will be an important element to the overall FlightAware product line, the heart of the system is a $65 device the company sends to FBOs, airport operators and even private citizens all over the world. The little box and antenna collects ADS-B data from all aircraft in line of sight from up to 250 miles away and the data is sent to a central processing center that creates the images on the website.